Liraglutide Leads The Way To Cardiovascular Risk Reduction?

sharma-obesity-liraglutideEarlier this week, Novo Nordisk, the maker of Victoza and Saxenda, announced top-line results from the LEADER trial, which investigated the cardiovascular safety of liraglutide 1.8mg over a period of up to 5 years in more than 9,000 adults with type 2 diabetes at high risk of major adverse cardiovascular events.

The trial compared the addition of either liraglutide 1.8 mg or placebo to standard care and apparently met the primary endpoint of showing non-inferiority as well as demonstrating superiority, with a significant reduction in cardiovascular risk.

According to the news release, liraglutide demonstrated superior reduction of major adverse cardiovascular events in the primary endpoint of the study (composite outcome of the first occurrence of cardiovascular death, non-fatal myocardial infarction or non-fatal stroke), a reduction that that was derived from all three components of the endpoint.

The safety profile of liraglutide in LEADER was reported as, “generally consistent with previous liraglutide clinical studies”.

While it is hard to fully interpret the study, the detailed results of which will be reported at the American Diabetes Conference in a few months, this may well be a landmark trial both for diabetes but also for obesity medications.

Thus, although LEADER did not test the higher liraglutide 3 mg dose indicated for obesity, it is indeed reassuring that at least the liraglutide 1.8 mg dose indicated for diabetes, did not increase (and even decreased) the risk for cardiovascular complications.

This is of importance, as readers may be well aware that the history of anti-obesity medications is plagued with drugs that raised safety concerns regarding cardiovascular events.

Thus, while we await the full results of the LEADER trial, there appears hope for optimism that with liraglutide we may finally have a drug for the treatment of obesity that has a favourable cardiovascular safety profile.

That would be a landmark indeed.

Edmonton, AB

Disclaimer: I have received honoraria as a consultant and speaker for Novo Nordisk